Portugal has become the world's seventh oldest nation due to a falling birth rate and a rising proportion of senior citizens, the country's National Statistical Agency has said.
On average, a Portuguese woman has 1.36 children during her fertile years, down from the previous 1.41, the agency said in its latest report Wednesday.
The birth rate has been falling for 20 years. If the trend continues as it is, the nation will lose a quarter of its population by 2050, and will have a net population of 7.5 million people, according to the report.
The birth rate drop from 1987 to 2006 is largely attributed to women choosing to have children at older ages.
Twenty years ago the highest number of pregnancies was registered for women between 20 and 29 years old. In 2005 and 2006, pregnancies were mostly linked to women between 30 and 34.
Experts said that the low birth rate has resulted from women's job insecurity, warning Portugal's ageing population in the long run will cause problems for the nation's pension system.